Saturday, June 24, 2006
'Cut and Run' is already policy
In a steely show of resolve, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist declared, "Withdrawal is not an option." But it is an option, and one that the Bush administration, for all of its testimonials to American resolve, has settled upon. The administration is already "moving in the direction of downsizing our forces," as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad puts it, having cut troop levels to 127,000 with another reduction of 6,000 announced even as GOP senators thundered about the consequences of drawing down. The Pentagon would like to get that number down to 100,000 by the end of this year, and toward zero by the end of next. So don't listen to the senators. They're talking to themselves.
Now, that's a pretty interesting. Background here.
Whoze you calling illiterate?
Forgive me. But I never read Daily Kos until today. Well, now that I've read it, the first thought that came to me is how illiterate Kos is, just plain illiterate.
Ouch, babe. And to drive home his point, Mr. Peretz pens a highly literate and coherent fourth sentence:
There has been other not-with-a-pick-axe-but-with-a-bludgeon left-wing journalism in the English speaking world, the American PM, for example, or the British Tribune.
"There has been other..."
"There has been other...?"
Mmmm. It's almost Faulknerian in its cadence.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Know who your dissing
I also take great exception to you talking about the 'Chairborne Rangers advancing the vast "negative media" conspiracy from the safety and comfort of their parents' basements'. Chairborne Rangers is a term used by those in the military, and since you are not there laying your ass on the line fighting it out every day, I don't think you have any business using that term. I know, I know, you're at risk, you're in Iraq, so you are laying your ass on the line, but really, what do you do? You go to a briefing everyday in the Green Zone. You ignore all the good news and report on the negative. You spread the message for the terrorists better than they can. You want to use military terms and be one of the cool kids? Put on 100 pounds of gear and go chase terrorists through the streets and down alleyways. Be the first one through the door chasing a terrorist into a house.
And what of the reporter this soldier is taunting? The one who wants to be "one of the cool kids"? What is his background?
Cesar Soriano is a veteran of the war in Bosnia. He kept an online diary of his deployment. Spc. Soriano was mobilized to Bosnia only two months after he started his job at USA Today.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Coverage of terror and its effects
"Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents," their study contends. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money "as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers."
The results, they said, were unequivocal: Coverage caused more attacks, and attacks caused more coverage -- a mutually beneficial spiral of death that they say has increased because of a heightened interest in terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001.
I know this piece of information will be seized upon by the anti-media goons. But my question to them, as always, is this: if you believe the media should not report on terror attacks, what would you have done on Sept. 11, 2001? And would you not cover, say, the death of less than 10 from a terror attack? 20? 100?
Such is the conundrum.
More after I read the paper.
Not George Will!
It is sometimes charged that journalism, which considers the phrase "good news" an oxymoron ("We don't report the planes that land safely"), is missing the good news from Iraq. But so pervasive is the violence, and hence so dangerous has Iraq become for journalists, that the Wall Street Journal, hardly a hostile observer of the U.S. undertaking in Iraq, thinks the bad news might be underreported.
Even the good news often has a dark cast to it. At last -- 25 weeks after the voting -- the Iraqi parliament has produced a full government. But its first task is to conquer itself: It must end the sectarian violence being committed by people wearing government uniforms, in the military and police.
Why does Will hate America?
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
The glass is half-something
"The progress here in Iraq has been remarkable when you really think about it."
Monday, June 12, 2006
THEY'RE LIKE PAVLOV'S DOGS, I TELL YOU [John Podhoretz]
An interesting character named Seth Swirsky tells the crowd over at the Huffington Puffington Shmuffington why he moved to the Right, and within minutes there were pages and pages and pages of enraged comments — my favorite accuses the Huff Puff Ruff Duff Tuff of being a secret sanctuary for "idiot neocons." The name "Bush" is like a mirror-image of the bell in Pavlov's experiment — mention it and people on the Left begin to salivate with hungry hatred...
Huffington Puffington Shmuffington? Huff Puff Ruff Duff Tuff? What's next, calling his political opponents "Stinky Pants?"
Norm must be so proud.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
New Haditha details
UPDATE: Interestingly, retired Col. W. Patrick Lang doesn't seem to buy this line of defense.
What you see here is undoubtedly a preview of what his defense will be if he is ever tried for murder or other possible offenses under UCMJ.
It is his only workable defense, and that is that the Iraqi witnesses are lying and that the civilians were killed unintentionally in the course of a firefight in the town.
How that would "play" would depend on whether or not the other Americans all back up his story and there is no forensic or other material evidence to substantiate the crimes that he might be accused of.
I don't think that would work for him. There are too many other knowledgeable people, photographs, etc.
Who's being dishonest, now?
Today, Prof. Reynolds responds to Mulshine and offers a snotty, whiny and laughably weak apologia.
COLUMNIST PAUL MULSHINE OF THE NEWARK STAR-LEDGER IS BEING DISHONEST.
Hm. And we wonder, how so?
But wait. Before we explore this topic further, let’s understand the context. Glenn Reynolds is, has been, and will always be a tireless passive-aggressive documentarian on what he sees as the insufficient patriotism of the press. He has whacked this drum so loud and so many times, it has given him tinnitus.
For instance, in the aftermath of the Koran-Newsweek imbroglio last year Reynolds wrote: “people may be forgiven for doubting the patriotism of many folks in Big Media. And there's evidence that they should.”
He then goes on to link to a noted right-wing blogger who “outs” a “source” on the Newsweek matter. Then, finding out she published the name of the wrong person, issues an “oops.”
I don’t know if that’s patriotic, but it sure is despicable.
Well, don’t you know, reporters are traitors who want us to lose the war?
UPDATE: Michael Barone writes that it's all the bad news that's fit to print. He also asks: "How much coverage would the press have given a World War II-era Cindy Sheehan who camped outside Hyde Park or Warm Springs demanding to meet with President Roosevelt?"But back then, the press wanted us to win.
By the way, did you know that reporters in Iraq want us to lose?
Now, all of this is a pretty long windup to Reynolds’s post today, which reads, hilariously:
When you [read my post], you'll see that the mention that it was Iraqi reporters, not U.S. reporters, who were cheering was there as a correction to Howard Kurtz, who was quoting a report of cheering reporters as evidence that the U.S. press was properly patriotic.
Eeks. Where to begin? First of all, I also encourage you to read that post, which documents the horror (The Horror!) of The Today show actually interviewing Joe Biden the day after Zarqawi’s death and reporting on the remarks of the father of a man beheaded by Zarqawi. He interprets these actions as meaning the press wants to hurt Bush. Really, he does. He then discusses how the press “empowers the terrorists,” and laments that he has to dwell on this stuff at all.
And so, in his column today, Mulshine focuses on the clapping issue. Any cursory reading of Reynolds's post will show, as Mulshine does, the repeated bludgeoned themes of InstaPundit. Media is the problem. Media is rooting for us to fail. Media is losing the war. And no, Reynolds was not just writing to make a "correction" to Kurtz’s column, it was to slap around reporters for not being up to his perceived level of necessary patriotism. This is what he wrote:
STILL MORE: Bad news for the press, though. Howard Kurtz goes out of his way to note that "Loud applause broke out among the reporters" [the phrase does not appear in the article any longer - JM] when Zarqawi's death was announced. That should be a dog-bites-man story, but Howard seems to know better. (Would it have been news if reporters had cheered the death of Heinrich Himmler in 1943? I doubt it.)
Unfortunately, it appears that there's even less to this story, as NBC's Richard Engel reported that it was Iraqi reporters who were doing the cheering. That really is a case of dog bites man.
You read that and tell me it isn’t a smear against the patriotism of the reporters gathered there. To argue otherwise would be, well, dishonest.
Friday, June 09, 2006
It appears that Rush was, gulp right
Most of it's not classified, but -- and you people will understand this -- I cannot reveal my sources on this. But it's people very close to intelligence. The main aspect of it is that the detainee reporting played a role in all this, meaning people that are being held prisoner somewhere be it Abu Ghraib or Club Gitmo, wherever they are.
That was yesterday. Today, ABC is reporting that the man in the case was a Zarqawi associate who was taken last spring, is being held in Jordan, but provided valuable information on Zarqawi safe houses.
Let's hear it for Rush, huh?
LATER: Jeff A. Taylor gives the "secret for secrecy's sake" crowd a poke to the eye. Any terrorist worth half-a-brain would have realized that someone betrayed from within. And yes, the U.S.'s intelligence network is smart enough not to leave exposed one of its assets.
These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much.
Ann Coutler goes on to call them "harpies" said that their husbands may have been thinking of divorcing them, and suggests they might also want to pose for Playboy. But it is, of course, the above excerpted that is the most repellant and newsworthy part of the story. Yet I pulled the transcript off Lexis-Nexis (as Media Matters, apparently, did) and could not find reference to that statement. Isn't that odd? Read the whole transcript.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Democrats Eat Babies!
"Democrats call Zarqawi killing a stunt" screams a headline over a brief web article posted today.
My goodness, really? How many said that? A stunt? Well tell me the news.
"This is just to cover Bush's [rear] so he doesn't have to answer" for Iraqi civilians being killed by the U.S. military and his own sagging poll numbers, said Rep. Pete Stark, California Democrat. "Iraq is still a mess -- get out."Well, that doesn't seem like a very temperate remark (let's forget that this is a fragment and it's unclear what "This" is referring to, and the paraphrase is actually longer than the quote). But a stunt? Don't see that. Maybe Kucinich can help out.
Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, said Zarqawi was a small part of "a growing anti-American insurgency" and that it's time to get out.
"We're there for all the wrong reasons," Mr. Kucinich said.
Okaaay. So we have exactly two Democrats. One of whom says "This is just to cover Bush's [rear] so he doesn't have to answer..." and the other who says, well, he doesn't say anything even remotely close to the assertion that the death of Zarqawi is a stunt.
I'm not apologizing for Stark's remarks (which are probably stupid), but to characterize it as a "stunt" is, I think wildly inappropriate. But par for the course for the Moonies. [via a panting, I assume, Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Stab in the Back!
We don't lose, unless we get sabotaged from within.
Isn't that cute? He's funny when he gets all fifth-columnist on us.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Tim Graham:
It's sad that within minutes of announcing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death, the network morning shows were already carrying criticism of the Bush administration. Not only did NBC invite Sen. Joe Biden so he could attack Bush incompetence (funny day for that!), ABC's Bill Weir reminded the audience that Zarqawi beheaded American Nicholas Berg, and then replayed Berg's left-wing dad saying at the time that he had no desire for his son's killers to be killed. Weir then reported that he spoke to Berg's father this morning, and he condemned the Zarqawi killing as part of an endless cycle of retribution.
It's transparent stuff like this, of course, that gets them accused of spinning war news to make things look worse than they are, and to hurt Bush. Because, you know, that's what they do, every day. It's just more noticeable at times like this.
Sick. On the Berg matter, don't you think it would be of interest what the father of a man beheaded by Zarqawi had to say? Do you think Reynolds and Graham would be attacking the media for their Bush-hatred and their rampant anti-Americanism if Mr. Berg had said he was happy at the news of Zarqawi's death? Of course not. On the Biden matter, we are offered no evidence of the "attack", save for Mr. Graham's say-so. And yet how does the Bush-friendly "Note" from ABC describe Sen. Biden's appearance?
For now, morning comments from President Bush and Sen. Biden sounded remarkably similar. Praise for the troops and the significant victory and caution the
American people that there is much more work ahead.
Hm. That doesn't sound like much of an "attack" on Bush's "incompetence." But wait, there's more!
Sen. Joe Biden's (D-DE) — the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a likely 2008 presidential candidate — reaction to Zarqawi death on NBC's "Today":
"Great good news, there is a special place in hell reserved for Zarqawi and this is a significant hit." Biden went on to caution that "there is still a war in Iraq, a significant war. . . "
When asked if Rumsfeld deserves some credit for this, Biden replied, "Sure."
"There is still a guy named Sadr out there who has his own militia. . . There is still an insurgency made up of people not part of the Zarqawi network. . . We have a lot of work to do," Biden added. "But I don't want anything to take away from this event."
The Senator from Delaware also said that he hopes the event improves President Bush's approval ratings. "We get one president at a time. This election in November is not for President of the United States. . . I hope it does improve his standing and emboldens him to take bolder moves in terms of his policy in Iraq. . . His low ratings and his inability to rally support is a difficult position for the United States internationally."
So he hopes that the death of Zarqawi actually bolsters the Bush presidency? But to the warped ears of people like Graham and Reynolds, this is unconscianable (and possibly treasonous?) criticism.
And not to be missed, Prof. Reynolds's crocodile-teared rant over what he no doubt sees as the media's objectively pro-terrorist coverage. Read it all and be amazed.
And it's too bad that I have to spend so much of a post on a Zarqawi's death talking about the misconduct of the American press. But terrorism is an information war for the most part, and the press is, in various ways, empowering the terrorists.
No facts to back up this argument. No evidence. No links. Just invective. Well, I've got some of that for you, sir. Go to hell, Prof. Reynolds, you little, pathetic man.
UPDATE: I want to make this abundantly clear. Let’s say that Biden really did go on "Today" and denounced the president. Let’s say he said some really boneheaded things. By the Reynolds and Graham calculus, it would be the media’s fault for reporting Biden’s comments. It would be the media who was rooting for our failure. Indeed, Graham and Reynolds seem to think that it is an act of treason to even have a hawkish Democrat on the TV talking about Zarqawi in the first place. And in the case of Berg, it is the media’s fault for reporting his sad and demented comments about Zarqawi (apparently, this extends to the notorious anti-American traitors at Fox News, who also interviewed Berg).
In their weird world, it is the media’s fault for reporting what important and newsworthy people have to say. That’s all you need to know about these nuts.
LATER: Greg Sargent has similar thoughts.
A pessimist says Zarqawi death big deal
This is a big, big success for the Iraqis and the Americans. Zarqawi wasn’t the sole force behind the insurgency, but he was the driving personality behind the jihad aspect of the Sunni fighting, which has much larger influence within the Iraqi insurgency than the size of its roster would suggest. It was his connections that brought in a lot of money from the Gulf, and with that cash and influence was able to bleed off some of the Ba’athists and Iraqi Islamists to his part of the insurgency.
I'd trust his assessment over the chest-thumpers.
What he's interested in seeing in the coming weeks is a decrease in sectarian killing , which would be a good sign of Sunnis further folding into the political process and Shiites ramping down reprisal killings. Read it all. [via High Clearing]
My thoughts at the time.
Rall and Coulter
Maybe others have already pointed this out (I know I wanted to yesterday, but Blogger decided to take an electronic holiday), but Ann Coulter and her deranged comments on 9/11 widows "enjoying their husbands' deaths" seems to share company with someone I'm sure she'd be glad to belly up to the ideological bar with, Ted Rall.
"When you have to deal with barbarians, you must behave like a barbarian yourself," a Greek officer in the Balkan wars of 1912-13 declared. But Americans, to their credit, have been unwilling to rationalize barbaric action so easily. Because American troops come from the culture they do, they have not become the sort of people they would have to be to defeat the insurgents at their own game.
Hm. Looks like Brooks tiptoes right up to the edge there.
And then he jumps:
A dissenting minority is furious that so many Americans are willing to betray the decent Iraqi majority in order to preserve some parlor purity. And the terrorists no doubt look at our qualms not as a sign of virtue but of weakness, and as evidence that savagery will lead to victory again and again.
Read that again. I had to. Parlor purity? It's "parlor purity" to not execute (allegedly) women and children? That's crazy. And which "decent Iraqi majority" wants us to execute women and children? If Brooks really believes that's who we're fighting for, he's way far gone.
And that last sentence seems to be part of a growing chorus of nimroddery, one that we've covered here previously.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Logic for the insane
All this diplomacy crap with Iran will make it much less likely that we'll blow
up thousands of Iranians. And that would be a damn shame.
And oh, Dear God, did he really end the article this way?
Faster, please. Please.
Here we go again.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
The 70-foot Strawmonster
Now, we in the Western world, and particularly in the United States, don't seem to attach much importance to history. And even what happened three years ago has become ancient history. I find, for example, people seriously arguing that 9/11 was the result of our invasion of Iraq. This kind of reversal cause and effect is quite common.
Unhelpfully, Prof. Lewis fails to provide a single example of anyone, anywhere "seriously arguing" this rather insane point. Has anyone of any consequence even wandered down this path? A little help?
Even better, Prof. Lewis later offers up a very good reason for crushing dissent in America. Because while Americans see an open exchange of ideas in the questioning our leaders' policies, the lunatic Muslims think that debate makes us look weak! And that's bad.
I think that the way that Ahmadinejad is talking now shows quite clearly his contempt for the Western world in general and the United States in particular. They feel they are dealing with, as Osama bin Laden put it, an effete, degenerate, pampered enemy incapable of real resistance. And they are proceeding on that assumption. Remember that they have no understanding or experience of the free debate of an open society. Where we see free debate and criticism, they see fear, weakness and division; they proceed accordingly, and every day brings new evidence of that from Iran.
I think it is a dangerous situation. And my only hope is that they are not right in their interpretation of the Western world.
He walks right up to the line there. [via Hugh Hewitt]
Monday, June 05, 2006
Shorter wingnut apologia
Abu Ghraib: Boys – and girls – will be boys!
Hadditha: Don’t you know this is war, bitch? Massacres just kinda, sorta happen.
Nuking of Baghdad: (Coming soon!): They had it coming.
The mask falls
Anyone who supports the launching of a war should be clear-sighted enough to know that, when the troops go in, a few of them will kill civilians, bomb schools, torture prisoners. It happens in every war in human history, even the good ones. Individual Americans, Britons, Canadians, Australians did bad things in World War II and World War I. These aren't stunning surprises, they're inevitable: It might be a bombed mosque or a gunned-down pregnant woman or a slaughtered wedding party, but it will certainly be something. And, in the scales of history, it makes no difference to the justice of the cause and the need for victory.
You'll be hearing a lot of this deranged talk in the coming weeks and months. Be prepared. [via TBogg]
Sunday, June 04, 2006
How about policy over glam?
But we're better than the monsters!
The way we show the world that we mean what we say about democracy and human rights is by acting well. That means on a thing like Haditha by not trying to cover up, by being absolutely open and saying 'We are capable of being barbaric like other peoples are, under conditions of extreme stress and without legal restraint. But what makes us different from them is the way re respond to that.' We use it as an opportunity to show that we're different from our enemies because we bring our own people to justice.
To which Mr. Reynolds notes:
That's right, and I note that it has been the pattern of the U.S. military in this war. Compare this to the record of, say, the United Nations where troop misbehavior is concerned.
Not that the critics will do so.
Actually, in this case, the pattern seems to be completely the opposite of what these two men are asserting: Cover-up and denial in the face of apparent troop "misbehavior." Indeed, the Haditha massacre would likely have never come to light had it not been for a few -- gasp! -- Big Media news reporters.
The alleged massacre took place in mid-November, some seven months ago. As Thomas Ricks ably lays it out in his excellent Washington Post article today, some Time magazine reporters got their hands on disturbing video earlier this year that seemed to show images of dead women and children from an Iraqi morgue. When the reporters started interviewing survivors and witnesses, they found a disturbing pattern that indicated a massacre had taken place at Haditha.
Here's where it gets interesting, and tends to blow apart the "different from our enemies" narrative. They contacted the public information officer, one Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool, to look into the matter. That officer completely brushed it off, and came back with a classic media-bash straight out of the nuttersphere textbook:
Pool, the Marine captain, sent the reporters a dismissive e-mail saying that they were falling for al-Qaeda propaganda, the magazine said recently. "I cannot believe you're buying any of this," he wrote.
Though Ricks's reporting tiptoes around the matter, it is becoming increasingly clear that Pool, or someone perhaps above him, sought to quash any information coming out of Haditha and then lie to the world about what happened (do read the whole story to get the sense of the cover-up). Indeed, as I heard one of the reporters tell it on NPR's "To the Point," this week, lower-level spokesman continued to blow off the Time reporters, until, finally, the reporters started going over their heads.
Obviously, it is good that we are now, finally, getting to the bottom of this. And it is becoming clear that the only way for the U.S. can make amends is to punish those who are guilty to the fullest extent. For that, I suppose, we can be thankful. But for relentless media-bashers like Reynolds to try to push this storyline that the military would have, out of its own sterling morality, come clean on its own, is preposterous and not demonstrated by the reporting on the matter.
The only reason we're learning about this now is because the Marines were caught. By the dreaded, biased, lazy, anti-American reporters of the Mainstream Media.